United States District Court, D. New Mexico
JASMINE BRIENO, as personal representative of the Estate of Eduardo Rodriguez Melendez, Jr., Plaintiff,
PACCAR, INC., KIMBLE MANUFACTURING COMPANY, a division of Hines Specialty Vehicle Group, JACKIE D. SIMPSON Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Paccar, Inc.'s
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction (Doc. 11) and
Defendant Kimble Mixer Company d/b/a Hines Specialty Vehicle
Group's (“KMC”) Motion to Dismiss for Lack of
Jurisdiction (Doc. 25). In both Motions, Defendants contend
that the present suit should be dismissed pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). For the reasons discussed below, the
Court concludes that it may exercise general personal
jurisdiction over Defendant Paccar and accordingly denies its
Motion. Finding no basis to exercise personal jurisdiction
over Defendant KMC, however, the Court grants its Motion.
case arises out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred in
Lincoln County, New Mexico on July 29, 2014.
Plaintiff's Complaint, Doc. 1-1 at 9. Plaintiff
alleges that a camper trailer attached to Defendant
Simpson's vehicle separated and traveled into the path of
decedent Eduardo Melendez's cement truck. Doc. 1-1 at 10.
Plaintiff alleges that Decedent Melendez crashed his cement
truck when he swerved to avoid the camper trailer. Doc. 1-1
at 10. Plaintiff alleges that the cement truck tipped onto
its side and slid approximately 129 feet. Doc. 1-1 at 10.
Plaintiff alleges that this caused the cement mixer drum to
detach from the bed of the truck, pin Decedent Melendez in
the wreckage, and ultimately resulted in his death. Doc. 1-1
Paccar is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Washington. Doc. 11-1 at 2. Defendant KMC is a
Michigan Corporation with its principal place of business in
Ohio. Doc. 1 at 2. The cement truck driven by the decedent
was composed of parts originating from both Defendants. The
cab and chassis was manufactured and assembled by Kenworth
Truck Company, an unincorporated division of Defendant
Paccar, in Ohio. Doc. 11-1. Kenworth Truck Company then sold
the cab and chassis to an independent dealer, MHC Kenworth -
Denver. Doc. 11-1. Kimble Mixing Company added the cement
mixer components to the cab and chassis. Doc. 25-1. MHC
Kenworth - Denver took delivery of the completed vehicle and
transported it Colorado. Doc. 25-1. The vehicle was purchased
by decedent's employer, Mesa Verde Enterprises, Inc., a
New Mexico company, from Defendant KMC in March 2006. Doc.
25-1. At the time of purchase the mixer components were owned
by KMC, while MHC Kenworth - Denver held title to cab and
chassis. Doc. 25-1. In order to complete the sale, MHC
Kenworth - Denver transferred title to Defendant KMC, who
then transferred title to Mesa Verde Enterprises. Doc. 25-1.
The title transfer occurred in Colorado. Doc. 25-1. In March
2006, MHC Kenworth - Denver delivered the vehicle to Mesa
Verde in New Mexico. Doc. 25-1.
initially filed suit against Defendants in New Mexico state
court. Doc. 1-1. Defendants removed the case to this Court on
August 23, 2017. Doc. 1. Defendant Paccar filed its Motion to
Dismiss on August 30, 2017. Doc. 11. Shortly thereafter,
Defendant KMC filed its Motion to Dismiss on September 26,
2017. Doc. 25. In response to the Motions, Plaintiff
requested that she be allowed to engage in discovery directed
toward the jurisdictional issues. See Docs. 24, 33.
On February 8, 2018, the Court entered an Order permitting
limited jurisdictional discovery and requesting supplemental
briefing. Doc. 40. Plaintiff filed her supplemental brief on
April 6, 2018. Doc. 56. Defendants Paccar and KMC submitted
their supplemental briefs on April 20, 2018. Docs. 61, 62.
Because the facts underlying the jurisdictional issues are,
in large part, unique to each Defendant, the Court will
reserve specific discussion of those facts for its analysis.
courts sitting in diversity have personal jurisdiction over
nonresident defendants to the extent permitted by the law of
the forum.” Benally v. Amon Carter Museum of
Western Art, 858 F.2d 618, 621 (10th Cir. 1988). The
plaintiff has the burden of establishing that personal
jurisdiction exists. Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d
1503, 1505 (10th Cir. 1995). “When the evidence
presented on the motion to dismiss consists of affidavits and
other written materials the plaintiff need only make a prima
facie showing.” Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. v.
Heliqwest International, Ltd., 385 F.3d 1291, 1295 (10th
Cir. 2004). The plaintiff must show two things: “first,
that the exercise of jurisdiction is sanctioned by the
state's long-arm statute; and second, that it comports
with the due process requirements of the Fourteenth
Amendment.” Marcus Food Co. v. DiPanfilo, 671
F.3d 1159, 1166 (10th Cir. 2011). New Mexico's long-arm
“statute extends the jurisdictional reach of New Mexico
courts as far as constitutionally permissible.”
Tercero v. Roman Catholic Diocese, 2002-NMSC-018,
¶ 6, 48 P.3d 50. Thus, the Court “need not conduct
a statutory analysis apart from the due process
analysis.” Marcus Food Co., 671 F.3d at 1166
(internal quotation marks omitted).
Due Process Clause permits the exercise of personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant ‘so long as
there exist minimum contacts between the defendant and the
forum State.'” Intercon, Inc. v. Bell Atlantic
Internet Solutions, Inc., 205 F.3d 1244, 1247 (10th Cir.
2000) (citing World-Wide Volkswagon Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 291 (1980)). “The
‘minimum contacts' standard may be met in two
ways;” namely, by establishing general or specific
jurisdiction. Id. “General jurisdiction is
based on an out-of-state defendant's continuous and
systemic contacts with the forum state…and does not
require that the claim be related to those contacts.”
Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc.,
514 F.3d 1063, 1078 (10th Cir. 2008) (internal citation
omitted). “Specific jurisdiction, on the other hand, is
premised on something of a quid pro quo: in exchange
for ‘benefitting' from some purposive conduct
directed at the forum state, a party is deemed to consent to
the exercise of jurisdiction for claims related to those
Plaintiff argues separate bases to support the exercise of
jurisdiction over Defendants Paccar and KMC, the Court will
address these Defendants in turn.
argues that the Court may exercise either general or specific
jurisdiction over Defendant Paccar. As for general
jurisdiction, Plaintiff contends that Defendant Paccar
consented to general jurisdiction by registering an agent for
service of process in New Mexico.In regard to specific
jurisdiction, Plaintiff argues that Defendant Paccar has
sufficient contacts with New Mexico and that the exercise of
personal jurisdiction is fair and reasonable. For the reasons
explained below, the Court agrees with Plaintiff's first
contention and accordingly concludes that the exercise of
personal jurisdiction over Defendant Paccar is proper.
argument is based on a line of authority holding that, in
certain circumstances, a foreign corporation may be deemed to
have consented to a state's exercise of personal
jurisdiction over it if it registers to do business in the
state and designates an agent for service of process. See
Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co. of Philadelphia v. Gold Issue
Mining & Milling Co., 243 U.S. 93, 96 (1917);
Robert Mitchell Furniture Co. v. Selden Breck Constr.
Co., 257 U.S. 213, 214-16 (1921). Whether a foreign
corporation's registration to do business or designate an
agent constitutes consent is determined by reference to the
state statute governing such issues or, in some instances,
case law construing those statutes. See Robert Mitchell
Furniture, 257 U.S. at 216 (“Unless the state law
either expressly or by local construction gives to the
appointment a larger scope, we should not construe it to
extend to suits in respect of business transacted by the
foreign corporation elsewhere…”).
Tenth Circuit has historically followed this practice. In
Budde v. Kentron Hawaii, Ltd., the Tenth Circuit
held that under Colorado law, a foreign corporation's
registration to do business in Colorado constituted consent
to general personal jurisdiction. 565 F.2d 1145 (10th Cir.
1977). In so concluding, the court distinguished its decision
in Kentron Hawaii with an earlier case filed by the
same plaintiff in federal district court in New Mexico in
which the court held that it did not have general personal
jurisdiction. Id. at 1148 (citing Budde v.
Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., 511 F.2d 1033, 1036 (10th Cir.
1975)). The Tenth Circuit clarified that in its earlier
decision neither New Mexico statutory law nor case law
provided authority for the exercise of general personal
jurisdiction. See Id. at 1148 (stating that
“the result reached in the appeal from the judgment of
dismissal by the federal district court in New Mexico was
dictated by a lack of New Mexico law on the particular
matter.”). Because Colorado law did provide such
authority, the court in Kentron Hawaii determined
that the exercise of general personal jurisdiction over the
foreign corporation was proper. Id. (“We
believe Colorado Law exists which dictates a result different
from the one reached by us in the New Mexico case.”).
to the Tenth Circuit's decisions in the Budde
cases, the New Mexico Court of Appeals issued its decision in
Werner v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1993-NMCA-112, 861
P.2d 270. In Werner, the court reviewed the New
Mexico Business Corporation Act, §§ 53-17-1 et
seq., and determined that the legislature intended
Section 53-17-11 to grant authority for state courts to
exercise personal jurisdiction over foreign corporations
authorized to transact business in New Mexico. 1993-NMCA-112,
¶ 11. In so holding, the court read Section 53-17-11 in
conjunction with Section 53-17-2 which provides that a
foreign corporation registered to do business in New Mexico
“is subject to the same duties, restrictions, penalties
and liabilities now or hereafter imposed upon a domestic
corporation of like character.” The court accordingly
concluded that because the “legislative intent
expressed in Section 53-17-2 appears ...